(On how much he looks at the first matchup between the two teams for this upcoming game and if this is a completely new chapter) –
"We've obviously taken a look at the first game, most of the things that we did well and things we didn't do well. We looked at them and what they did well and didn't do well. So it's obviously part of it, but certainly you pay a little bit more attention, when it's the 14th game of the season, to the last four or five weeks and what you see on tape more recently. You look at the totality of the season."
(On comparing the Patriots in Week 1 to now) –"A lot of the same things. It's a team that takes great care of the football. I think they are what plus-10 or something in the turnover margin. They're one of the best teams in football in that regard of holding onto the ball and taking it away, number one. I think they are operating at a high level in all three phases. They're scoring a lot of points, they're not giving up a lot of points. I think, the last three weeks, they're giving up an average of about 16 points a game. They're just playing good all-around football."
(On what the team needs to do to jumpstart the run game) –"Well, I thought we were running the ball fairly effectively last week, especially in the first half. And then we came out in the second half, after our first two possessions in the game last week, we either had a penalty or a sack or a negative yardage run on every single possession we had after our first two (drives). That makes it tougher to function. I thought we kind of got out of rhythm a little bit and didn't have real good balance. Obviously, I think we're best when we can have balance on normal down and distance, and run the ball effectively and also throw it. Certainly, it's going to be important for us to eliminate negative yardage plays, be it the ones that our opponents creates or ourselves, kind of shooting ourselves in the foot."
(On QB Ryan Tannehill's development since Week 1) –"I think he's just more comfortable, period. Whether it's him in his third year, number one or, number two, we have a different scheme than we had in his first two years here. I think those two things combined, I just think he's playing a little bit faster back there. He's making decisions a little bit faster and fortunately he's been throwing the ball accurately. I think all of those things have combined to help him play a little bit better."
(On Patriots CB Brandon Browner) – "I think this is obviously a well-coached defense. They play a lot of man-to-man coverage and he's a great fit in that scheme. He's got outstanding length, he can re-route players at the line of scrimmage. You better have a plan when you're going up against this guy. He's one of the better cover guys that we've faced. He's been a nice addition to their ball club."
(On QB Ryan Tannehill playing at a faster speed and if that lends itself to be able to do more at the line of scrimmage) – "There are a lot of things that can happen post-snap and, whether it's changing a play at the line of scrimmage, changing a protection, changing a route or adjusting to something that happens post-snap. All of those things are a part of the system. I think, as you mentioned, the more reps that you see, now he's got about 3,000 or so NFL snaps under his belt. I think that experience helps him to see things once the ball is snapped."
(On all of the new players that Patriots have since Week 1) –"Like I said, you look at the beginning of the season and our first game and you see obviously there are still a number of players that are playing in this game that played in that game, but then there are the new ones, a bunch on defense that you just mentioned. You study the recent tape. Again, I think you have to give your hats off to the Patriots coaching staff. They've integrated these guys into their scheme well. They're making a good contribution and obviously playing well as a team. You have to give credit to the new guys that have come there and the way that the Patriots and their staff have integrated them."
(On how much more do the Patriots play man-to-man defense than most team) – "Everybody is different. There have been other teams we've played where they've played a considerable amount of man-to-man. I think it is just week-to-week and sometimes game plans change. Teams that maybe their computer going into the game they are heavy, heavy one way, be it zone or man. Teams sometimes change it up in the middle of the game. Certainly, they play it. They are good at it. They have a lot of variations within it. It's not just simply one man on one man. They have the double-coverage variations, and they have the extra hole players. They do a real nice job with it, as do other teams in the league."
(On WR Jarvis Landry and what has contributed to the impact he's made this year) – "I think he has the nickname 'Juice' around here if I'm not mistaken. The guy brings a lot of energy and passion, number one. He's a very, very competitive individual. We use the term or I use the term, 'The guy is a football player.' He loves to go out there and compete. He has a lot of confidence in himself. When he gets the ball in his hands, he can make things happen. He's not afraid to go across the middle. He's not afraid to go up against anybody. I think that competitive nature in him is really a positive for the whole ball club."
(On the importance of this week's game and if it's like a playoff game) –"It's a very very important game, absolutely. You get an opportunity to play the New England Patriots, your team is going to have to play extremely well to beat these guys. There's no doubt about it. That's what we told the team. They've seen the tape already. We practiced yesterday. We are going to practice here again in about an hour. On paper, they are a good team and, on film, they are a good team. We are going to have to play extremely well."
(On how the franchise has progressed in the three years he's been in Miami) – "I hadn't really sat down. This isn't the time for me, in Week 14 and you are 7-6 as a football team, my main objective is helping this team reach its potential and defeat the New England Patriots on Sunday, which is not going to be an easy task. I think there is a time and a place to evaluate what's the progress, where is this team at and where is this organization is at. On December 10th, when you have a game against the Patriots on the 14th staring at you in the face, there are probably other times to talk about that."
(On Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and how different he looks now compared to Week 1) –
"Unfortunately, he looks outstanding (joking). The guy has 10 touchdowns. He's averaging almost 14 yards a catch. They do a great job of utilizing him within the scheme. As we all know, number one, he moves extremely well for a man of his size, and two he catches the ball well, and number three he's not easy to bring down. He's one of their outstanding weapons that they utilize well, and it sure looks like he's playing as well as ever."
(On Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski and if he's one of the most unique matchups in the NFL) – "There are a lot of great players in the National Football League. Every week, it seems like the opponents have good players. Certainly, he's one of them. He's had production in this league for a long time and he is somebody that we're going to have to really have focus in on Sunday."
(On what he has seen that is different from the Patriots offense from Week 1 to now) –** "For the most part, it is the same style, same up-paced, fast tempo consistent offense. As a defense, we have to go out there and match up. I think every time we've gotten out on the field with those guys it's been a good game, good matchup, and I don't expect anything different this Sunday."
(On how he has seen Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski evolve during this season with Tom Brady throwing him the ball) – "No matter what, we are facing good football players and both players you mentioned, but at the same time I have a lot of faith in the guys that we have, guys that were not even available the first game we played. We were down four or five key guys on our defense that weren't playing, and now those guys are back and healthy. Just like I said earlier, we have a game where we have two good football teams going against each other, teams that match up well against each other, and I think it's going to be a good battle on Sunday."
(On if Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski is a type of player where it would be a benefit to knock him off his route and if it is something he will have to do Sunday) – "I'll just line up and man (coverage) him all day (laughs). What do you think about that? To me, it's another week in the NFL. It's another week that we go at this, whether it is a good quarterback, a great receiver, a running back. We've faced good football players week-in and week-out. It's always the task of the defense to matchup with those guys and that you do what you can to throw them off. Sometimes it is getting after the quarterback. Sometimes it is gang-tackling the running back or matching up your best corners and defensive backs against receivers. This week is no different. They have good football players on their side. Everybody is human. Nobody is a fan of being uncomfortable, I'll just say that. Whatever we have to do on defense to get our job done, that's what we have to do."
(On what makes patriots TE Rob Gronkowski better than other exceptional tight ends in the league) – "He's a consistent player. I think when he gets in there that he does his job well and he does it consistently. That's always something that is going to stand out on the football field regardless of position. It's another week where, we as a defense, have to do whatever we can to limit that and stifle that as much as we can from all facets of their offense because when those guys can get it going they can make it tough. We have been focusing on us week-in and week-out, and this is another week we have to play the same style of defense that we've been playing. Obviously, the last few times we went out there, we got the job done. We have to make it three."
(On difficulties stopping the run the past few weeks) – "When you look at the way things have happened, we've had a couple of big plays squirt through. As long as I've played football, I haven't seen too many 40, 50 and 60 yard runs get broken off unless it was some self-inflicted wound, whether it was a guy not filling the right gap, missing a tackle, miscommunication, whatever it may be. There are some good running backs in the league, but I haven't seen too many run over three defensive linemen, toss all the linebackers to the sideline and carry defensive backs into the end zone. It's usually a missed tackle or a misfit, and we've had a couple of instances where that has happened. You throw a 40-yard run into your rush defense, and it kind of throws all the numbers all out of whack. Eliminating the big play, staying consistent with doing what we've been doing the last 10 weeks or whatever it's been, wait not 10 weeks, we've been doing it pretty well for a few years. Just getting back to that is a key."
(On the importance to him of playing at a high level during his career in the NFL) –"That's something that was established way back before I stepped foot on an NFL field. I have a high expectation and a high standard that I hold myself up to probably higher than any other coach, any other player or fan. I feel like with my abilities and the way I put my task at hand and attack my job, I feel like I can accomplish anything I can put my mind to. Every week it's just another challenge I like to face and go after with everything I got. That way when you look in the mirror whether it is end of the play, end of the big game, end of your career, you can look in that mirror and say you did everything you possibly can and I eliminated that fear of dying with potential. That's kind of the way I go at it."
Team photographer, Keith Nordstrom, offers his best photos from the Patriots game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, September 7, 2014.
(On why he thinks he's had so much success against the Patriots) –** "It might help that we play them twice a year. That might throw the numbers in there a little bit. I feel like every time we go out there, usually it's a big game. The minute I started playing boy's club basketball, my coach told me big players have to step up in big games and make big plays. Obviously, these are big games when we come to face each other. I look at myself as a big player, and I feel like whatever I can do to help the team out, whatever my role is, and occasionally it is getting to the quarterback. I try my best to get the job done."
(On if he ever crossed paths with New England Patriots CB Brandon Browner in the Canadian Football League) – "Actually, I think so. I actually believe we worked out for the Miami Dolphins on the same day, crazy enough."
(On if he knows Patriots CB Brandon Browner at all) – "I think we knew of each other, more than knowing each other. Just from playing in the same league, big players kind of know who the other guys are that are making plays around the league."
(On what his time in the CFL did for any specific facet of his game) –"Fortunately for both him (Brandon Browner) and I, there are some things in football that are universal no matter what league you play in, whether it's backyard, CFL, NFL. Covering a receiver is universal, they have to run a route, you have to stick on them, no matter what league it is. If you're good at it, you're good at it. The same thing goes for rushing the passer, doesn't matter what league it is, there is a tackle in your way, you have to get to the quarterback. Pass rush moves from college to pro, to CFL, whatever. That's something that I definitely had to work on day in and day out, getting to the quarterback. Up there they make it a little more difficult for the defense because you're a yard off the ball, whereas here you can crowd all the way up to the ball, as close as you possibly can. So that get-off was something was of utmost importance, closing that distance and obviously they played three down football and we play four down football. So you don't have as many opportunities. You have to make the most of those two downs that you have, really, to get after the quarterback before they punt the ball or score, whatever it may be. You have to let your on hair fire and get after it, again, the larger field, sideline to sideline, it's a different sideline to sideline than it is down here. A lot of the things that you had to deal with, contend with, turn you into a better football player for your future when you get down to the NFL."
(On Patriots QB Tom Brady being accused of seeing ghosts when he is pressured early on in games and how important it is for the defense to get after him early) – "I don't think Tom Brady is any different than any other quarterback, if you start hitting him, to some degree, they have to make sure that they're protecting the ball or protecting the team and taking care of the ball. If there are guys hitting them all day, then that's something they're going to be aware of. Like I said, he's no different than any other quarterback, I think hitting the quarterback has always been something that's a help to your defense as a whole, whether it's them tucking the ball and covering up or throwing the ball a little too early or getting off the spot, whatever it may be. Those things are going to help your defense out. Obviously, that's not a surprise that that's something we're going to have to take care of on Sunday."
(On what makes Patriots T Sebastian Vollmer such a challenge to face) –** "When you start to go after guys and start playing more and more and more, you get familiar with each other. Obviously, he's going to do everything to play to his strengths and so am I. That familiarity is something that you both have to overcome. He's studying everything he can to make his day successful on Sunday and so am I. Another good football player, a guy who is going to battle you and fight you every day and every snap, every time we grind against each other. I don't expect anything different on Sunday. It's another one of those situations where I think I'm the best guy, best D-end (defensive end) on the field and he can't block me and I'm sure he thinks he's the best O-Lineman (offensive lineman) on the field and he can't be beaten. That's why football it's so great. When that ball is snapped, there is only one winner."
(On if there is a reason he prefers lining up at the defensive left end spot) – "Jason Taylor, Jason Taylor is the reason."
(On why Jason Taylor is the reason) – "He liked the right so he kicked me out. He was like, 'You can't rush over here, you've got to go to the left. Hey rookie, this is my side, that's real simple.'"
(On if he wonders where the Patriots keep getting these 6'8 tackles from) – "You would have to tell me, I have no idea."
(On the Patriots having more of those tall players since he entered the league) - "The bigger, the better."
(On Patriots CB Brandon Browner and him working out for the Dolphins prior to signing in the NFL, and if they walked away thinking they would have a chance in the NFL) – "I don't know if you've ever been around an NFL workout, but I guess there's more poker-faced guys, even if they love you, they don't really give you any inclination either way that they might be leaning, maybe for future deals. But anyway, honestly, I had no idea what direction they were going to go, with him or myself. You've just got to be confident that you went out there and you did your best. Obviously, for both of us, it turned out pretty well. Probably all started back then during those days and I think it speaks for both of us – if you look back on those days, those are some of the days that actually made us who we are today. For me, I'm definitely proud of the path that I took and I wouldn't change it for anything."